Canadian Travel Restrictions
The NHL and Canada discuss the logistics of travel constraints and the impact on the Stanley Cup Semifinals
With Travel Restrictions in Place, the NHL and Canada Consider Their Options
Overview of the 2020-21 NHL North Division: To manage travel restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic between the US and Canada, the 2020-21 NHL regular season introduced the Scotia North Division. The North Division featured a seven-team all-Canadian crew, including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, Montreal Canadiens, Calgary Flames, Ottawa Senators, and Vancouver Canucks.
The top four teams of the North Division made the playoffs, including the division-winning Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, and Montreal Canadiens.
With the Montreal Canadians and Winnipeg Jets advancing to the 2nd round of the playoffs, the NHL is in conversations about what will occur in the next round of the playoffs surrounding the logistical concerns between the Canadiens/Jets versus the Avalanche/Golden Knights. As deliberations continue, the NHL isn't the only league to combat travel restrictions.
Travel Restrictions in the Other Professional Sports Leagues: While the NHL had the luxury of a North Division because of seven NHL teams located in Canada, other professional sports leagues had to be even more flexible. In the NBA, the Toronto Raptors started their season in Tampa Bay, Florida, at Amalie Arena, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning, where they ultimately played the entire season.
The Toronto Blue Jays have shuffled around in the majors, though ultimately will begin playing at their "home field" in Buffalo, NY at Sahlen Field, home of their Triple-A affiliate team, the Buffalo Bisons.
As the MLS season has also kicked off, Toronto FC has been playing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at Exploria Stadium, home of the Orlando City SC. Similarly, the Montreal Whitecaps are also playing in a temporary home stadium at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, home of Real Salt Lake. With time remaining in the MLB and MLS seasons' the Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto FC, and Montreal Whitecaps remain hopeful they will return home at some point this season. But, what will happen in the next round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs?
What to Expect in the Stanley Cup Semifinals: With the 2020-21 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs proceeding, the NHL and Canadian officials are discussing ways for the next round to transpire. These conversations concern whether the Canadiens/Jets or Avalanche/Golden Knights can travel across the border while being exempt from entering into a mandatory 14-day quarantine, which Canada has in place for all nonessential personnel entering the country.
As conversations have continued, the final word will ultimately come down to Marco Mendicino, the Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship.
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A Question for the Peanut Gallery
Where will the Stanley Cup Semifinals be played between the Canadiens/Jets and Avalanche/Golden Knights?